06 October 2010







23 August 2010

i can't get enough of this song.
then i saw the video.
it's like something just illuminates spontaneously.
you watch it, and you feel it.
we all feel it.
we all want it.
to be in love, to frolic, to flirt, to play, to adventure.

i am thankful for moments as these.

M83-We Own the Sky

07 August 2010

some days the chips seem to fall effortlessly into place. some days they seem to shatter as they hit the ground.
some days, when they fall oh so effortlessly, it's when kelly clarkson's miss independent gets played in savasana.
some days, when they shatter, it's when kelly clarkson's miss independent gets played in savasana.

so what's the difference?


I fall effortlessly into allowing. i rest. i breathe. i *attempt* humility.
on those other days i resist every single thing that i come across. i push. i pull. i fight. i am proud.

wish i could say i am the former more often. i am not. BUT, for the first time ever, i see both. i see the gift that they each are when observed and witnessed.

and seeing has made all the difference.

what do you see today?

24 July 2010

Oh ghee-z!

Since i always seem to make ghee in small, bowl-of-oatmeal sized batches, i finally thought it best to make enough to use daily. while not the most elite of butters, costco does sell 1lb slabs of unsalted butter fairly cheap. since i seem to have so much butter lying around, why not make one of those slabs into sweet, delicious ghee.

a little background on ghee, also known as clarified butter. in ayurvedic cooking and philosophy, ghee is medicinal. it is said to ignite the fire (Agni) of digestion when taken early in the morning. it is especially good in a hot bowl of steel cut oats.
ghee is also useful in treating cuts and burns, moisturizing the skin and adding to your favorite bath scent for a luxurious experience.
the other great part: lactose free! lactose, the sugar in milk, is part of the solid that rises in the process of making ghee. you are left with milk fat.
who knew butter could be SO good?!

ghee is very simple to make and store for use in all your daily butter needs.
of course, the higher quality of butter (organic, raw butter would work nicely), the better your outcome.

to make ghee:

• use a heavy pot, preferably stainless steel (i used my cast iron one, but i think it got too hot). bring butter to a boil, and then reduce heat to VERY low. as it simmers, the milk solids will begin to rise to the top.

• i keep a bowl to the side and use a large, clean spoon to begin scraping the solids off the top, placing them in the bowl.
this may take time, and it may be good to let the butter sit for a while as solids rise. i made the mistake of allowing the heat to stay higher, browning my ghee a bit. it's not bad, but it give a nuttier flavor.

• once the solids have been removed, pour the ghee through a cheesecloth (or paper towel) into your storing vessel. this will remove any solids that have gone to the bottom, leaving you with liquid gold.

• store in an airtight container, preferably at room temperature as not to allow condensation to develop in the container. i used a 16 oz. mason jar. LET IT COOL BEFORE YOU SEAL.

now, i wouldn't write a whole post on ghee if i wasn't planning on using this amazing product. no, no, no. as i said, i've used it in oatmeal, but have yet to explore more ornate dishes. i really wanted to bake with my daughter and niece, using my fresh-made ghee, but wasn't sure how it would react in a baking environment.
i had some blackberries that i froze last month, and thought i'd try it out in a simple blackberry cobbler.
not bad!

Ghee-licious blackberry cobbler
Serves 6-8

For "filling":

• about 2 cups of fresh or thawed blackberries, drained completely if frozen
• 1/2 cup of sugar, or sugar substitute of your choice (to taste...i used very little sugar)

For crust:

• 1 cup of flour
• 2 tsp. of baking powder
• 3/4-1 cup of milk
• 1/2 tsp of salt
• 1/2 cup of ghee
• 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

Begin by letting sugar and blackberries marinate for 15-20 minutes. This should warrant delicious, sweet blackberries with a syrupy liquid.

While that sits, preheat oven to 350.

Add flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon to a bowl, mixing just to combine. Add milk slowly. You may find you need less or more milk. At this point the dough should be slightly sticky, not dry, like a pie crust. Add in the ghee and stir to incorporate. This dough is infectiously delicious. Butter, buttery.

Spread about 2/3 of this dough on the bottom of an 8-inch round or square baking dish. I used round and it was great.
Pour all of the blackberry mixture on top. Add the remaining dough on top, lightly spreading it. Alternately, you could put ALL the dough on the bottom, or the top. It's all going to ooze the same way :)

Place in 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Check that dough is cooked through. It will be moist, almost like a cake, rather than a crust. It doesn't look super cooked, but your mouth will tell you differently.
Like any other cobbler, this is best served warm. I had it without garnish, but fresh whipped cream would have been delicious!

i love the texture the ghee gives this. i'm used to a more crumbly cobbler or crisp type dessert, but love the cake-iness of this version. while not exactly figure friendly, it's a much better option than the traditional sugar-infused, buttery desserts.

22 July 2010

as i age, like a fine wine or delectable cheese, i get better. and part of that getting "better" is that i love food. hence the feeble attempt at a food metaphor.

amongst other, more pressing hobbies and passions is the innate Foodie deep within. i scan food blogs, food network, chow and keep tabs on various food happenings around my area. my heaven is a farmer's market filled with the seductive sounds of bluegrass music, laughter and the undeniable crunch of all things delicious. had i the time, i would literally spend all day in the kitchen. if you've been to my house, you know my kitchen isn't exactly that of a gourmet chef. then again, a chef i am not. but a novice home cook, sauce inventor and recipe concocter i AM!

the most recent endeavor: vegetarianism. oddly enough, it's not me that prompted this somewhat radical change. for me, it wouldn't have been too radical. but for my husband, it is. i came home one night after he watched some documentary on the way meat is processed and that was it. since i'm not super excitable when it comes to meat, i happily obliged to trying out this new way. too bad i had just purchased our carnivorous stock the day before he told me this. ah well. meat for sale!

while this certainly presents some new challenges and adjustments, i welcome it all. i have been eating healthier, lighter and found that i have lost my often insatiable desire to eat all things sweet. don't get me wrong...i'll still eat chocolate cake with the best of 'em, but maybe only one piece...not two, or three.

as i mentioned above, i love doing food research. every empty plate is like a blank canvas longing to be filled with unique colors, textures and flavors. i want to know how i can fill it. i have found some new sites catering to us fledgling vegis and enjoy the poshness of it all. i love a challenge. creating tasty, healthy food without meat is a new challenge.

tonight's meal was a complete invention. i saw guy fieri making mashed cauliflower on his show, and it gave me an idea. i wanted the lusciousness of mashed potatoes sans the starchy carb-load. i love the linear structure of asparagus spears, paired with the fluffy goodness of the whipped cauliflower. BUT, i thought, i need protein. well, tofu it is...the 'ol standby. by marinating and searing it, i created a nice, rustic crust to compliment the green and white. and to bring a little more nuttiness and texture, i sprinkled the dish with chopped almonds.

the recipe as follows:

Ginger mashed cauliflower, with sesame glazed tofu and asparagus
Feeds about 3

1 bunch of asparagus, bottoms removed
2 cups of cubed tofu
2 small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. of ground ginger
2 oz. of milk (cream or half-and-half to make it richer, soy for non-dairy)
2 oz. of chicken or vegi stock
Your favorite teriyaki or Asian marinade (I made my own that I will try to remember here-see below)
salt and pepper to taste

Start by roasting your cauliflower florets. Spread them evenly on a cookie sheet and drizzle your O.O. on top. Add a bit of S & P. Toss to coat and place in 375 oven for about half an hour. Ovens vary so check to make sure they are fork tender. They should begin to get a nice brownish color on the tops.
While they are toastin' away, prep your vegis. After removing the woody ends of asparagus, marinate in teriyaki sauce for 15 minutes or so. Do the same with the tofu, but in a separate bowl.

My sauce recipe (the estimated version):

1 tsp. of minced, fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
couple TBSP of rice vinegar
Combine, stir and taste. Adjust as needed. Should be sweet and salty, with a little Asian flare. Not syrupy.

So, get a good pan, preferably non-stick, HOT. When the pan is sizzling, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and immediately add the asparagus, being careful to let the marinade drip off before adding to pan. You may have to do this in batches as not to over crowd the pan. Cook for a few minutes until asparagus is just slightly tender. Al dente, I guess. To the tooth.
Using the same pan, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the tofu. Let them sit for a couple minutes to form a nice crust. If you remove to quickly, they will stick...Kind of like chicken.

About this time, your cauliflower should be ready. Let it cool for a few minutes. Grab yer blender. Add the milk, stock and ground ginger, along with half your cauliflower. Blend until smooth then add the rest of the cauliflower, adding salt and pepper to taste. They should have the same consistency as mashed potatoes, with a little bit of kick from the ginger!

To plate, i made a bed out of the mash, sprinkled some asparagus spears on top, tofu and chopped almonds. The almonds make this! Enjoy!

as you can see, i am a mixer. i am horrible at a couple things in life, but they're not that big of a deal: remembering street names, but recognizing everything by sight, and measuring ingredients, but creating yummy dishes by taste. so, here's to experimenting, getting lost, but always finding your way.

02 July 2010

today, we finally went to the SD County Fair, after 5 years of living here. In the past, it just seemed like so much work with a VERY active kid or baby. This year, when we received tickets from our spritely 90 year-old neighbor, juanita, we HAD to go. chloe is nearly 4, and tall enough to go on many rides by herself.

of course, the fair means many things to many people. to most, it usually connotes vomit-inducing rides followed by insane amounts of deep-fried foods (deep-fried butter? what's the point?) and the stale, pungent air of the livestock exhibits. for me, it means lots of stomach-dropping, spinning and whiplashing rides...which i thoroughly enjoy. even at 30.

there is one called the silver streak. really, it's just a series of small roller coaster cars in a hilly circle that go around really fast. then they go backwards...really fast. the ride is about 3 minutes longer than necessary, if not for the weak stomached, at least for the weak necked. but, i wanted to do it. i love to spin and so does my girl. she loves adventure. jared, well, let's just say he can't do the ferris wheel.

i took our Flip video camera on the ride and what a treat! chloe's laughter filled the entire ride with an infectious cackle that can only come from an exuberant and happy kid. i could watch it over and over just to hear her laugh. if i could make that my ringtone, my alarm tone and greeting as i turned on my laptop, it would be amazing.

there was a moment when she rode the mini-roller coaster for the first time by herself that nearly had me in tears. really, there was no monumental thing happening. just a moment where i was watching her, independent and happy, glowing in the midday sunshine with her hair blowing back, listening to the cyclical giggles as she whizzed by, that i just felt nothing but joy. i knew, instantly, why people have children. jared was by my side. we hugged and he said, "This is the way 4th of july is supposed to be." i quietly agreed as we watched our baby fearlessly roll.

29 June 2010

one of my great joys in life is food. as a self-professing foodie, i particularly indulge in sweets...rich, complicated flavors swirling together in one delicious concoction of dessert bliss.

i often wonder if i should have taken a different path, one that i liked when i was very young: the path to being a chef and restaurant owner. but, had i NOT taken the path i have, i doubt that i would have the appreciation i do for food. being the homemaker, responsible for shopping and preparing healthy, creative meals for my family, i take great pride in experimenting, mixing, tasting and plating everything i make. it truly is an outlet.

as a part of my love for food, i try to bring chloe in the kitchen with me every time i cook, allowing her to mix, taste and experiment on her own. she doesn't always love the main dish preparation, but she LOVES baking. who doesn't? licking gooey batter off of a spatula? YUM! normally we cook on fridays, but we are heading to the SD county fair this week, so we baked this morning. i didn't have the ingredients for oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies, but i did have stuff to make a delicious vegan, almost raw frosting: avocado, coconut oil, agave nectar and cocoa powder. so, the cookies are full fat, full of animal bi-products, and fully delicious. i have come to enjoy the rich flavors of the plant-based frosting much more than those using butter as a base, so here ya go!

the other thing about food: i love to take pictures of it. two of my loves, food and photography, whirled into one! so, for visual interest, we picked some fresh lavender from our yard as a garnish.

thanks to chloe, my sous chef, for her discriminating palate.